Posts Tagged ‘BRM P261’

(oldracephotos/DKeep)

What do you do when you have already overdosed on Longford?…

Have some more of course! There is no such thing as too much of a good thing.

Lindsay Ross has popped a swag of oldracephotos.com.au photographs on The Nostalgia Forum recently- his focus with this batch of shots was just on The Viaduct section of this challenging circuit. See here for a lap of the place to orientate yourself; https://primotipo.com/2018/07/05/longford-lap/

One of the things I love is the mix of shots, and do checkout the website, Lindsay has been ridiculously kind with his support of me since starting primotipo, without doubt there are more photographs from the ORP archive than any other. Lets support those that support us ; http://oldracephotos.com/content/home/ The cars vary from the sublime- Jackie Stewart’s BRM P261, to the more realistic end of the enthusiast spectrum- Formula Vee, and pretty much everything in between.

The opening photograph is of Graham Cullen’s CMS Vee, and he has a playmate in the undergrowth too- who is it? No he doesn’t, its just that his bodywork has become separated from the chassis on his trip through the undergrowth. The driver of car #71 zipping past the long-suffering marshalls is Garry Nielsen in a Tasman- I wonder who built these cars?

 

(M Hickey)

 

 

CMS is short for ‘Cullen Marine Services’ Graham Cullen’s primary business, he built about twelve of these ladder framed cars in the early Australian Vee years in the mid to late sixties.

By the time I had driver/engineer Peter Ward look after my Venom Mk2 FV circa 1979- he was building CMS’s of a totally different kind- very quick spaceframe cars raced by he and David Eyre-Walker and one or two others.

Like every man and his dog Wardy had an Elfin NG Vee copy he named ‘Spectre’, of which he built plenty in his Ross Street, Balwyn, Melbourne backyard workshop. I never worked out why Elfin Chief Garrie Cooper didn’t take to the cleaners all the pericks who knocked off that great design! Still, often the last thing to be found in a court of law is justice.

 

(oldracephotos/DKeep)

 

This panoramic shot of Frank Gardner leading the Touring Car pack down the hill into the Viaduct gives us some perspective- what a mega spot for spectators, blow the photo up and you can see the train line. I’ll take advice on the drivers too folks, but I guess its Bruno Carosi in the Jag Mk2 and Robin Pare in Don Elliott’s white Mustang. Rob Bartholomaeus and Bill Hollingsworth have Bob Holden in the ‘striped’ Cooper S, Gene Cooke in the Fiat 1500 and Rob Boote in the Holden EH. The year is 1967.

Have a look at this article on the Alec Mildren Racing Alfa GTA’s and their pilots; https://primotipo.com/2014/11/27/the-master-of-opposite-lock-kevin-bartlett-alfa-romeo-gta/

 

(oldracephotos/DKeep)

 

Then lets have a look at JYS in his BRM at ground level, at about the point Frank is turning in and pretty much the car at the same point from above, peering down into the cockpit.

Jackie looks as ‘snug as a bug in a rug’ inside that tight cocoon- unbelted as he is.

The shot above is of P261 ‘2614’ in 1966, he won the race from Graham Hill’s similar car and Jack Brabham’s Brabham BT19 Repco. Look closely, the engine is a crossflow 1930cc P60 V8- inlets within the Vee and exhausts outside. Check out this article on the BRM P56/P60 V8; https://primotipo.com/2016/02/05/motori-porno-stackpipe-brm-v8/

 

(oldracephotos/Keep)

 

Whereas the photo above is in 1967, again the car is ‘2614’ albeit this time powered by a P60 V8 of a different configuration- see the exhausts between the Vee, and its of 2070cc in capacity.

Jackie DNF with gearbox problems- which was the weak link of the BRM’s that season, the power and torque of the larger engine was beyond the design limits of a gearbox first built for engines of 1.5 litres- the GP formula of the time.

Brabham won that day in BT23A Repco ‘740’ from Clark’s Lotus 33 Climax FWMV 2 litre V8- the Tasman Championship winning combo that year. It too was a stretched, in terms of engine, 1.5 litre F1 car. Here is a piece about the 1967 Tasman and the fortunes of Stewart, Clark and Hulme; https://primotipo.com/2014/11/24/1967-hulme-stewart-and-clark-levin-new-zealand-tasman-and-beyond/

 

(oldracephotos/DKeep)

 

Similar turn-in shot for Alan Hamilton who has his Porsche 906 Spyder beautifully cocked up in a delicate little slide- these cars were great, forgiving, customer machines.

Here is a bit more about them- Alan and his 906’s; https://primotipo.com/2015/08/20/alan-hamilton-his-porsche-9048-and-two-906s/

 

(oldracehotos/DKeep)

 

Bruno Carosi in the ex-Bob Jane Jaguar Mk2 is under the Viaduct in 1967, whilst the shot below is of Doug Whiteford’s Maserati 300S just as he enters the light- by the look of that number on his cars nose its during the 1959 Australian Grand Prix meeting in which Dicer Doug failed to finish having driveshaft failure on the first lap- Stan Jones won the event in his Maserati 250F.

That race is covered here; https://primotipo.com/2016/01/08/stan-jones-agp-longford-gold-star-series-1959/

 

(oldracephotos/DSaward)

 

(oldracephotos/DKeep)

 

David Keep has a really unusual and interesting view of Pete Geoghegan chasing Frank Gardner away from the Viaduct and towards Kings Bridge, its 1967 again.

Who won the Taxi races?, my money is on Pete despite the more nimble attributes of the GTA. See here; https://primotipo.com/2017/10/17/he-came-he-saw-he-conquered/

 

(oldracephotos/Harrisson)

 

Things went wrong of course.

The Viaduct had a fast approach- downhill, a tricky turn-in and bugger-all in the way of run-orf areas to capture the steed which has just gotten away from you, should that particular situation occur.

Which of course it did, as in this series of happy snaps!

 

(oldracephotos/Harrisson)

 

Phil Brooke looks fairly happy with himself so presumably he has not done too much damage to his pride and joy on that greasy race-day in 1968, we can’t see the rear of the little Angle-box mind you.

 

(oldracephotos/Harrisson)

 

Bruno has painted his Jag between the 1967 and 1968 meetings, he is just about to alight the machine being very careful where he pops his feet. Still, too much action about the place for the snakes to show interest I guess. They do have snakes down there I think?- just Googled, they do, copperheads, tigers and white-lipped, none particularly friendly or good for you.

 

(oldracephotos/Harrisson)

 

Lionel Ayers Rennmax built MRC Lotus 23B Ford looks as though it is suspended in a tree but its probably on solid’ish ground. It will may need a wheel alignment before tomorrow’s race all the same. Its 1968.

 

(oldracephotos/Harrisson)

 

Daryl Wilcox looks as though he has had a moment on the way into the corner and is perched precariously half on and half off the road. Just looked again it might be on the exit? Phil Brook’e youthful face I can just make out to the left of the copper’s head- clearly both chappies have left the island on the notoriously wet last day of racing ever at Longford on Monday 4th of March1968.

 

Credits…

oldracephotos.com.au and in particular the work of David Keep who is for sure one of the Longford photographic gods, not to forget Mr Harrisson as well. Michael Hickey Collection

 

Tailpiece: Up The Escape Road…

(oldracephotos/DKeep)

 

To get the entry to the escape road right takes real skill under pressure- so maybe Darryl O’Toole bailed real early in his Humpy. Its not a back road to Longford mind you- he is about to run out of gravel soonish.

 

(KBY191)

 

This November 2018 photograph by KBY191 shows that ‘The Viaduct and railway are still there, however nothing remains of the old track running down to The Viaduct since reconstruction of Illawarra Road which also bisects Tannery Straight with a round-about’.

 

Finito…

(P Newbold)

Jackie Stewart eases his BRM P261 chassis ‘2614’ into the Sandown Paddock after practice…

It wasn’t going to be a great day at the office for the plucky Scot. He started well, passing Jack Brabham on lap 9 for the lead but the crown wheel and pinion gave up the ghost on lap 11 of the race won by Jim Clark’s Lotus 33 Climax V8.

I think the car behind Jackie is Denny Hulme’s Brabham BT22 Repco-  right of picture behind the attractive chick with white ‘flairs’, eagle eyed Holden fanciers will spot Repco’s HR Panel Van, one of two which carted the two team cars of Jack and Denny around the country that summer.

(P Newbold)

Clark ponders changes to ‘R14’ a chassis which was very kind to him in Australasia that summer- he won five of the eight rounds and took the Tasman Cup for the second time.

The chassis went back to Hethel with Jim, he raced it in the early F1 races of 1967- for the last time at Monaco before the race debut of the epochal Lotus 49 Ford DFV at Zandvoort on June 4.

https://primotipo.com/2014/09/28/jim-clark-lotus-33-climax-monaco-gp-1967-out-with-the-old/

(M Feisst)

Stewart was the reigning Tasman champion, the ex-F1 BRM P261 still had the speed to win the Tasman, but, stretched to 2.1 litres, the V8 put out that little bit of extra power and torque which stretched the transmission beyond its comfy limits. The cars Achilles Heel caused too many retirements that summer but the other Great Scot took two wins on the tour all the same. Click here for an article on this engine and series of cars; https://primotipo.com/2016/02/05/motori-porno-stackpipe-brm-v8/

JYS with Light Car Club of Australia, the lessee/promoters of Sandown,  President Arnold Terdich- Arnold is the son of 1929 AGP winner Arthur Terdich, he won in a Bugatti T37A (P Newbold)

 

Stewart’s BRM P261 ‘2614’- jewels of long-lasting racing cars. Amongst the greatest of 1.5 litre F1 cars, then ‘gap fillers’ as the outrageous 3 litre P83 H16 was developed in 1966/7 and formidable Tasman cars fitted with 1.9 litre and finally 2.1 litre P111 BRM V8’s- the gearbox was not designed with so much power and torque in mind… (M Feisst)

Jack suits up below for the off with the omnipresent Roy Billington in attendance. I wonder when his time with Jack started and finished?

One of the things all these shots have in common is the very casual nature of racing at the time. The current World Champ is there for all to see and say ‘gedday mate and good luck!’

In fact he didn’t have good luck at all- he was out with ignition dramas having completed 27 of the races 52 laps with Denny retiring a lap earlier due to selector failure in the Hewland ‘box- not a happy home weekend for Repco at all!

It wasn’t that simple though, the weekend proved a long one for the Brabham and Repco boys.

In 1967 the tyre-war was on in earnest with Dunlop, Firestone and Goodyear vying for honours. Jack’s car was fitted with some wider 15 inch wheels made by Elfin (or perhaps more accurately Elfin wheels cast by the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation) to take the latest, wider Goodyears. To do so, changes were needed to the rear suspension.

(F Nachtigal)

Jack did the quickest time on Friday and then the Repco lads popped in a fresh motor overnight- he then set pole on Saturday from Stewart and Hulme.

On Sunday Jack won the 10 lap preliminary from Stewart at a canter but as the BT23A crossed the line the Repco engines timing gear broke. With that, the crew set about another motor change in the limited time available, popping another RBE ‘640 Series’ 2.5 litre V8 into the svelte Ron Tauranac designed spaceframe chassis.

Jack and Jim both made ripper starts but Clark’s 2 litre Lotus was soon overhauled by Hulme’s 2.5 litre Brabham and Stewart’s 2.1 litre BRM. Brabham and Stewart then tussled before Jackie passed Jack- who then retired a lap later near Dandenong Road. It transpired that a soldered ignition wire pickup had come off the flywheel- repaired later, Jack re-entered the race completing 27 of its 52 laps.

1967 Tasman Series…

https://primotipo.com/2014/11/24/1967-hulme-stewart-and-clark-levin-new-zealand-tasman-and-beyond/

http://www.oldracingcars.com/tasman/1967/

Etcetera: Sandown…

Here are a few more photographs from that meeting- Peter Newbold was patrolling the paddock and so too was Mike Feisst who visited the Warwick Farm and Sandown Tasman rounds whilst on a trip over from New Zealand.

Between them, their pit shots capture the flavour of the times in a manner which on-circuit stuff on its own never entirely does.

As you will see, the entry for that meeting was truly mouth-watering in its variety and depth!

RBE 640 V8- the 1966 ‘600 Series’ Olds F85 block and new for 1967 ’40 Series’ exhaust between the Vee heads. Gearbox is a Hewland HD5 (M Feisst)

Brabham’s BT23A Repco awaits Jack and Roy Billington.

Despite passing into David McKay’s Scuderia Veloce after Jack had finished with it, this car probably under-achieved really.

Greg Cusack and Phil West raced it for David but by then the mantle of local aces had shifted from the retired Bib Stillwell to Spencer Martin, Kevin Bartlett and Leo Geoghegan. Put any of those fellas in BT23A at that time and a championship could have been won assuming a measure of Repco 2.5 litre reliability, a quality not necessarily plentiful…

https://primotipo.com/2017/01/04/scuds/

(M Feisst)

 

Bob Jane had only just taken deliver of his Elfin 400 Repco ‘620’ 4.4 litre V8 from Garrie Cooper and his merry band of Edwardstown artisans- the 1967 Tasman round support races were his first serious events in a car which had a rather chequered and tragic history, click here for the story; https://primotipo.com/2018/04/06/belle-of-the-ball/

(M Feisst)

The Touring Car entry was ‘top shelf’ as well and led by crowd favourites from Melbourne, Norm Beechey above in his Chevy Nova and Sydney’s Pete Geoghegan below- the latter still racing the first of his two Mustangs.

Who won the battles on that weekend folks?

(M Feisst)

Pete’s ‘Stang is lining up for scrutineering, by the time I started racing a decade and a bit later the concrete pad was still in the same spot albeit there was a permanent roof providing the poor marshalls with some necessary protection from the elements.

That paddock was ‘heaven on a stick’ from a spectators viewpoint- so much was compressed into a small space but it was a pain in the tit as a competitor, it was as tight as a mackerel’s bum with a halfway decent entry list of cars. When things got too tight we Formula Vees were banished to an area of our own on the outside of Shell Corner (turn 1) which made us all grumpy at the time! And yer could no longer easily see all the other goings on.

Geoghegan’s Mustang in 1967; https://primotipo.com/2017/10/17/he-came-he-saw-he-conquered/

(M Feisst)

Leo Geoghegan bought the ex-works Lotus 39 Climax Jim Clark raced throughout the 1966 Tasman at the duration of the series racing it during the 1967 Gold Star Series without much success due to recurring engine dramas.

Having said that the car behaved itself rather well on this weekend as Leo finished second in the race to Clark albeit he was 50 seconds back- this was the highest place finish by any local driver throughout the series.

It was not the last time Geoghegan gave the internationals a run for their money in this car either. Leo passed Frank Gardner in the latter stages of the race and was then lucky when Martin’s BT11A Brabham gifted Leo second with half-shaft failure.

Frank Gardner was third in Alec Mildren’s Brabham BT16 Climax FPF- an F2 chassis with a big-beefy FPF popped into the frame, Chris Irwin was fourth in the other 2.1 litre BRM chassis ‘2616’, then Kevin Bartlett, in Mildren’s other car, the ex-Gardner Brabham BT11A Climax which KB drove so hard and well in 1966/7. Then came John Harvey, three laps adrift of KB in Ron Phillips’ Brabham BT14 F2 car powered by a big 1860 cc Lotus-Ford twin-cam.

Leo contested the 1967 Australian Tasman rounds with the Climax fitted and then gave the car ‘a birthday’- John Sheppard and the Geoghegan lads adapted the chassis to take a Repco ‘740’ 2.5 litre V8, this created one of the sexiest ever open-wheelers to race in Oz, whilst the car was uber fast reliability remained an ongoing issue. The story of this machine is here; https://primotipo.com/2016/02/12/jim-clark-and-leo-geoghegans-lotus-39/

(M Feisst)

Peter Mabey eases himself out of Frank Matich’s brand-new and sinfully good-looking Matich SR3 Oldsmobile V8.

Later that year FM raced two of these chassis, Repco ‘620’ 4.4 litre V8 engined, in the Can-Am Series, the SR3 story is tangentially told in this piece on its successor, the SR4 Repco; https://primotipo.com/2016/07/15/matich-sr4-repco-by-nigel-tait-and-mark-bisset/

(M Feisst)

Gay Cesario brings a little bit of Italo-French style to the Sandown pits with his Abarth Simca 1300 GT.

The speedy Italian acquired the car in his native country and then drove it from one end of Italy to the other, both car and family migrating to Australia in the mid-sixties. Click here for the story; https://primotipo.com/2018/02/13/abarth-simca-1300-gt/

(M Feisst)

The two BRM P261’s of Stewart- ‘2614’, on the truck and Chris Irwin ‘2616’ on terra-firma. Nifty looking and aerodynamic full rear bodywork atypical by then.

Engines of the cars are to different specifications, Jackie’s is fitted with an exhaust within the vee motor and Irwin’s the more classic cross-flow set up with the former ‘de-rigueur’ in F1 in 1967- Ferrari, Repco-Brabham, Honda and BRM produced engines of that specification. That Stewart’s car is fitted with the exhaust within the vee arrangement tends to suggest it was the quicker at the time. Irwin’s car is about to be scrutineered.

One of the P261’s raced at the Phillip Island Historic Meeting not so many years ago driven by Rob Fowler, I think- man what a car at bulk-revs singing its way down the main straight and into Southern Loop- and well driven. Personal bias hereby declared.

(M Feisst)

I suspect Mike Feisst had a ‘heads up’ as to the garages in Melbourne where some of the Tasman cars were being fettled over the weekend- for sure this shot is not at Sandown Park.

The Aston DB4 GT Zagato has Victorian plates, I wonder which of the two (?) which came to Australia in period it is. It looks well used which is rather nice. Laurie O’Neill had one which Doug Whiteford and Pete Geoghegan gave a bit of a gallop, but wasn’t there another too? Intrigued to know which chassis this is and whereabouts the shot is taken. Check out this article on the cars; https://primotipo.com/2015/09/22/aston-martin-db4gt-zagato-2vev-lex-davison-and-bib-stillwell/

Flinders Street Station maybe for the photograph below, in Flinders Street itself down towards the ‘Banana Alley’ vaults?

The Holden FC aft of the Aston DB4 GT provides valuable context- I reckon yerv always got to see the exotica of the period juxtaposed with the transport we plebians used at the same time to see just how marvellous they were. My mums new Morrie 1100 was plated JEN-108 in 1965, so I’m thinking this Aston is perhaps a 1966 drop, James Bond plate duly noted?

(M Feisst)

 

(M Feisst)

Their was a bit of chatter online about this chassis being Graeme Lawrence’s McLaren M4A Ford FVA but I reckon Mike Feisst’s photo is also at Sandown and the car is an Elfin Mono- an outboard suspension second series car.

Two such were entered in the Sandown Park Cup by Ian Cook (7th) and Jack Hunnam (DNF) with Hunnam’s Mk2D the most likely choice I think. Having said that my friend, and Mono racer/restorer James Lambert will correct me if I have goofed! The engine is a 1.5 litre Lotus-Ford twin-cam, these very quick machines ran in the ANF1.5 category- effectively Australia’s F2 at the time.

(M Feisst)

Motor Racing Royalty in Australia in the mid-sixties was David McKay’s Scuderia Veloce Ferrari 250LM.

It was always, even in 1965 when it first arrived new from Maranello, a bit heavy to beat the sprinters but the car won three Surfers Paradise Enduro’s on the trot and was steered by some great drivers including McKay himself, Jackie Stewart, Spencer Martin and the brothers Geoghegan.

(M Feisst)

I’ve written about this wonderful machine, now owned by Ralph Lauren (what a waste of a RACING car) at length too;

https://primotipo.com/2014/07/03/pete-geoghegan-ferrari-250lm-6321-bathurst-easter-68/

I think Kiwi Andy Buchnan was racing, and owned the car at this stage in 1967?

(M Feisst)

Hillman had a great reputation in Australia at the time the ‘Grunter’ was popular aided and abetted by its 1968 London-Sydney Marathon win. The ‘Coventry Climax’ engine inspired Imp I always thought was a thinking mans alternative to the Mini- as ubiquitous in Australia as anywhere else on the planet.

The ‘works’ Improved Production Imps were raced (and built?) by Melbourne’s Graham ‘Tubby’ Ritter and youthful man-about-town Peter Janson. Norm Beechey had an occasional steer of these things as well- on this weekend the cars were raced by Ritter and Bruce Hindhaugh in car #22- the latter of Gown-Hindhaugh Engines in Elgar Road, Box Hill.

(M Feisst)

Alec Mildren added the teams second Alfa Romeo GTA to the trailer of cars sent from Sydney to Melbourne- both Kevin Bartlett and Gardner raced the car with FG twiddling the wheel that weekend.

Another favourite car, I wrote an article about these rather special Autodelta built ‘105 Coupes’ a while back, it is a tome about Alec Mildren Racing and Bartlett too; https://primotipo.com/2014/11/27/the-master-of-opposite-lock-kevin-bartlett-alfa-romeo-gta/

Love the Ford ‘Cusso’ towcar behind (M Feisst)

No doubt those wheels are very light but there is something very ‘povvo’ about that aspect of a Porsche 906 at least visually?

Alan Hamilton would have been outgunned that weekend aboard the first of his 906’s with the Matich, Jane and Niel Allen (Elfin 400 Olds) big vee-eights present but this car always punched above its weight and was driven exceedingly well by the gifted son of Porsche importer Norman Hamilton. Click here for a feature on Hamilton and his cars;

https://primotipo.com/2015/08/20/alan-hamilton-his-porsche-9048-and-two-906s/

(M Feisst)

The Morris Cooper S was a mainstay of Touring Car Racing globally at the time of course, not least in Australia where Mini Kings included Peter Manton and Brian Foley- others who spring to mind include Don Holland and John Leffler- Leffo starting a career in the BMC products which all the way through to winning a Gold Star, the Australian Drivers Championship in an F5000 Lola T400 Chev in 1977.

This car is Jim Smith’s- later the owner/racer of the crowd pleasing, ex-works Rover 3500 Repco Holden V8.

In the background you can see the nose of Hamilton’s Porsche 906 sneaking past (M Feisst)

Seeing Leo Peter Woodwards’s ex-Geoghegan/Niel Allen Lotus 26R reminds me I’ve written a track test of me mate David Mottram’s Lotus Elite Super 95, I must pop it up.

Whilst most folks wax lyrical about the Elite as one of the best looking cars ever, I agree, for me the slightly more butch Elan 26R is a contender albeit not strictly a road car of course. See this short article about the car here; https://primotipo.com/2018/04/15/perk-and-pert/

Peter Woodward later won the Australian Sportscar Championship in the one-off Elfin 350 Coventry Climax FPF. He ‘nicked’ the championship in 1970 taking points in two of the three rounds from Frank Matich who did not race the awesome SR4 all season and Niel Allen in the 5 litre Chev F5000 engined Elfin ME5.

What became of this 26R after Peter Woodward finished with it?- to John Fraser in Queensland, but perhaps some of you can fill in the gaps. Is the car still in Australia?

Credits…

Paul Newbold, Mike Feisst on The Roaring Season, Frank Nachtigal, oldracingcars.com, sergent.com, Terry Sullivan, Dale Harvey, Rob Bartholomaeus

Tailpiece: All Eyes on Australia’s Finest…

Which is as it should be of course!

Jack steers BT23A-1 through the gravel Sandown paddock towards the grassy Esso compound only a few more steps away. He wore that gold ‘Buco’ (i think) helmet a lot in 1967! It may be summer in Australia but by the look of the adoring kiddos its a chilly Melbourne day.

Photos of this place bring back many happy memories of roaming the Sandown paddock just like these youngsters, although i was never as nicely dressed as the brothers in yellow and wearing a tie!

Finito…

lotus spa

(unattributed)

Team Lotus in the Spa pitlane, Saturday June 12 1965: the 33’s of #17 Jim Clark, Mike Spence and the teams spare chassis…

Sunday was wet, Jimmy ran away with the race from grid #2, Mike was 7th from grid 12. Graham Hill started from pole in his BRM P261 but finished 4th, Jackie Stewart was 2nd in the other BRM and Bruce McLaren 3rd in a Cooper T77 Climax.

spa start

Lap 1 and Graham Hill’s BRM P261 leads into Eau Rouge from pole. You can just see the white peak of Clark’s helmet and his Lotus 33’s left rear wheel right up Hills clacker. Stewart’s sister BRM follows then Ginther’s white Honda RA272, Siffert’s Rob Walker Brabham BT11 Climax, Surtees Ferrari 158 on the outside, Gurney’s Brabham BT11 Climax, McLarens Cooper T77 Climax and the rest…(unattributed)

spa clark

Daunting in the dry positively frightening in the wet. Spa. Clark speeds to victory, he took the ’65 drivers title in his Lotus 33 Climax (unattributed)

Tailpiece: Alone in the Ardennes Forest, Jack Brabham…

brabham spa

Brabham, La Source hairpin, Spa 1965- 4th in his Brabham BT11 Climax (unattributed)

 

 

(Mr Reithmaier)

I love the build up and tension before the start of a big race; here it’s the grid prior to the start of the New Zealand Grand Prix at Pukekohe, in the north of NZ’s North Island on 6 January 1968…

Chris Amon readies himself and his Ferrari Dino 246T before the first round of the 1968 Tasman Series, a race in which he wonderfully and deservedly triumphed. Missing on the front row is Jim Clark’s Lotus 49T Ford DFW. Car #2 is Pedro Rodriguez’ BRM P261, the Mexican is bent over the cockpit of his car but failed to finish with clutch problems. Car #7 is Alec Mildren’s Brabham BT23D Alfa Romeo T33 2.5 V8 with chief mechanic Glenn Abbey warming up the one-off car. Lanky Franky Gardner is adjusting his helmet beside the car, it was a good day for Frank, the car was second.

Look closely and you can see a camera crew behind the Brabham which is focusing on 1967 reigning world champion Denny Hulme and his #3 Brabham BT23 Ford FVA F2 car- Denny’s head is obscured by Frank’s body. Hume boofed the ex-Rindt BT23 during the race badly enough for a replacement chassis to be shipped out from the UK.

I’ve always thought these F2/Tasman Ferrari’s amongst the sexiest of sixties single-seaters. The 166 F2 car was not especially successful amongst the hordes of Ford Cosworth Ford FVA engined cars in Euro F2 racing. However, the car formed the basis of a very competitive Tasman 2.5 litre Formula car when fitted with updated variants of the Vittorio Jano designed V6 which first raced in F2 form and then owered the late fifties Grand Prix racing front-engined Ferrari Dino 246. It was in one of these cars that Mike Hawthorn won the 1958 World Drivers Championship.

Amon won the Tasman Series in 1969 with Ferrari Dino 246T chassis #0008 with fellow Kiwi Champion Graeme Lawrence winning in the same car in 1970 against vastly more powerful, if far less developed Formula 5000 cars. The story of those championships is for another time, this article is about Chris’ 1968 Tasman mount and campaign.

Amon hooking his gorgeous Ferrari Dino 246T ‘0004’ into The Viaduct in the dry at Longford 1968. Early ’68, we are in the immediate pre-wing era, and don’t the cars look all the better for it! (oldracephotos.com/D Keep)

In many ways Chris was stiff not to win the ’68 Tasman, a title, the last, won by the late, great Jim Clark…

Ferrari entered only one car that year with chassis #0004 assembled in Maranello by longtime Amon personal mechanic Roger Bailey and tested at Modena in November 1967. It was then freighted by plane to New Zealand where it was assembled by Bruce Wilson in his Hunterville workshop in the south of the North Island.

The cars chassis was Ferrari’s period typical ‘aero monocoque’, a ‘scaled down’ version of the contemporary F1 Ferrari with aluminium sheet riveted to a tubular steel frame forming a very stiff structure. The 166 was launched to the adoring Italian public at the Turin Motor Show in February 1967.

In F2 form the 1596cc, quad cam, chain driven, 18 valve, Lucas injected engine developed circa 200bhp at an ear-splitting 10000 rpm. It is important to note that this F2 engine, designed by Franco Rocchi, and in production form powering the Fiat Dino, Ferrari Dino 206 and 246GT and Lancia Stratos is a different engine family to the Jano designed engines, evolved by Rocchi, used on the Tasman Dino’s.

The F2 166 made its race debut in Jonathon Williams hands at Rouen in July 1967, and whilst it handled and braked well it was around 15bhp down on the Cosworth engined opposition. Whilst the car was tested extensively at Modena, including 24 valve variants, it was not raced again that year.

Amon, who had not raced in the Tasman Series since 1964, could immediately see the potential of the car, suitably re-engined, as a Tasman contender given the success of the small, ex-F1 BRM P261 1.9-2.1 litre V8’s in the 1966 and 1967 Tasman Series. The same approach which worked for the boys from Bourne could also work in Maranello Chris figured. A parts-bin special is way too crass, but you get my drift of a very clever amalgam of existing, proven hardware as a potential winning car.

In fact Ferrari went down this path in 1965 when a Tasman hybrid of a then current F1 chassis was married to a 2417cc variant of the Jano 65 degree V6 for John Surtees to race in the 1966 Tasman. John had Tasman experience in Coventry Climax FPF engined Coopers and Lola’s at the dawn of the sixties and could see the potential of a small Ferrari.

That plan come to nothing when Surtees was very badly injured in a Mosport Can Am accident in his self run Lola T70 Chev in late 1965. This car, Ferrari Aero chassis ‘0006’ played the valuable role of proving Surtees rehabilitation when he completed 50 laps in the car at Modena. It was in the same chassis that Lorenzo Bandini finished 2nd in the 1966 Syracuse and Monaco GP’s as Ferrari sought to get the new 3 litre V12 F1 312 up to speed, Bandini electing to race the Dino on both occasions. He also finished 3rd aboard the car at Spa. The allocation of this more competitive car to Bandini rather than team-leader Surtees was amongst the many issues which lead to the confrontation between John Surtees and team manager Eugenio Dragoni during Le Mans practice and Surtees departure from the team.

An unidentified fellow, Jim Clark, Ferrari engineer Gianni Marelli, Chris Amon and Roger Bailey share a joke during the 1968 Longford weekend. Chassis ‘0004’ is fitted with the 24 valve V6 covered in the text. Note the quality of castings, fabrication and finish, inboard discs, sliding spline driveshafts and single plug heads of this very powerful- but less than entirely reliable engine in 1968 form, it’s shortcoming cylinder head seals (oldracephotos.com/Harrison)

The engine of the 166/246T was carried in a tubular subframe attached to the rear of the monocoque which terminated at the drivers bulkhead. The car was fitted with a 5 speed transaxle designed by Ingenere Salvarani and Girling disc brakes.

Suspension was also similar to the contemporary F1 cars in having an front upper rocker and lower wishbone with inboard mounted spring/shocks and conventional outboard suspension at the rear- single top link, inverted lower wishbone, two radius rods and coil spring/shocks.

For the 1968 NZ races- Chris won at Pukekohe after Clark retired and at Levin, leading from flag to flag, was 2nd to Clark at Wigram and 4th at Teretonga- a 3 valve variant (2 inlet, 1 exhaust) of the 65 degree fuel injected V6 was fitted which was said to develop around 285bhp @ 8900rpm from its 2404cc.

Chris crossed the Tasman Sea with a 9 point lead in the Series from Clark and the might of Team Lotus. It was a wonderful effort, whilst Ferrari provided the car free of charge, and took a share of the prize money, the logistics were of Chris’ own small equipe. And here they were serving it up to Gold Leaf Team Lotus with a couple of World Champions on the strength, plenty of spares and support crew.

Amon just falls short of Jim Clark at the end of the 1968 AGP at Sandown. The official margin, one tenth of a second after 62 minutes of great motor racing. Lotus 49 Ford DFW and Ferrari Dino 246T (unattributed)

For the four Australian races a 24 valve version of the engine was shipped from Maranello. Its Lucas injection was located between the engines Vee rather than between the camshafts and had one, rather than two plugs per cylinder. This engine developed 20 bhp more than the 18 valver with Chris promptly putting the car on pole at Surfers Paradise, a power circuit. He won the preliminary race and had a head seal fail whilst challenging Clark in the championship race.

At Warwick Farm he qualified with the 18 valve engine and raced the 24 valver having rebuilt it- they only had one of the motors. He was challenging both Clark and Hill in the race and then spun in avoidance of Hill who was having his own moment…he was 4th on the tight technical Sydney circuit.

At Sandown during the AGP, the pace of the car, and Amon, was proved in an absolute thriller of a race in which he finished 2nd to Clark by one-tenth of a second, the blink of an eye. Let’s not forget the best driver in the world driving the best F1 car of the era powered by the Tasman variant of the greatest GP engine ever- and took fastest lap.

As the team crossed Bass Straight from Port Melbourne on the ‘Princess of Tasmania’ Chris knew he had to win the Longford ‘South Pacific Championship’, with Clark finishing no better than 5th to win the Tasman title.

At Longford, still fitted with the 24 valve engine, which must have been getting a little tired, he qualified a second adrift of Clark and Hill. He finished 7th in a race run in atrocious conditions on the most unforgiving of Australian circuits having initially run 2nd to Clark but then went up the Newry Corner escape road and suffered ignition problems from lap 10.

Piers Courage won in an heroic drive aboard his little McLaren M4A Ford FVA F2 car that streaming day, in a series which re-ignited his career.

Chris and the boys confer about car set-up- in the dry!, at Longford(oldracephotos.com.au/Harrisson)

Chris was a busy boy during the Australian Tasman leg as he also drove David McKay’s Scuderia Veloce Ferrari 350 CanAm/P4 in sports car support events at each round in addition to the little Dino.

These races were outstanding as they all involved close dices between Chris and Frank Matich in his self designed and built Matich SR3 powered by 4.4 litre Repco Brabham ‘RB740’ V8’s- with Frank getting the better of him in each of these races. The speed of the Matich was no surprise to Chris though, both had contested rounds of the Can Am Championship only months before the Tasman in the US.

Click here for my article on the Ferrari P4/CanAm 350 #’0858’ Chris raced in Australia;

https://primotipo.com/2015/04/02/ferrari-p4canam-350-0858/

Amon lines David McKay’s Scuderia Veloce Ferrari P4/350 Can Am up for Longford’s The Viaduct during the 1968 Longford Tasman meeting. Matich didn’t take the SR4 to Longford so Chris had an easy time of it that weekend. The sight and sound of that car at full song on the Flying Mile at circa 180mph would have been really something! (oldracephotos.com/D Keep)

For the ’69 Tasman Chris applied all he learned in 1968 returning with two cars, the other driven by Derek Bell, four well developed 300bhp 24 valve engines with the logistics taken care of by David McKay’s Scuderia Veloce.

He promptly lifted the Tasman Cup in a very successful campaign from Jochen Rindt, Graham Hill and others. With a little more luck, or greater factory commitment in 1968 it may have been two Tasman’s on the trot for the Maranello team and Chris…

Bibliography…

oldracingcars.com, sergent.com.au, ‘Dino: The Little Ferrari’ Doug Nye

Photo Credits…

Mr Riethmaier, oldracephotos.com, Rod MacKenzie

Tailpiece: Love this moody, foreboding Longford shot by Roderick MacKenzie. Chris has just entered the long ‘Flying Mile’ in the streaming wet conditions during Monday’s ‘South Pacific Trophy’ famously won by Piers Courage little McLaren M4 Ford FVA F2 car. 4 March 1968…

(Rod MacKenzie)

Finito…

 

richie

(Schlegelmilch)

One of the BRM mechanics shows his mates some naughty pictures on his iPhone 6S, Zandvoort, Dutch Grand Prix July 1965…

The shot says everything about the regard the BRM team had for their old driver. By that stage Richie was driving for Honda, famously the American won the very last race of the 1.5 litre F1 for Honda in Mexico City that year.

image

Stewart #12 and Hill #10 BRM P261’s in the 1965 Zandvoort paddock (Schlegelmilch)

At Zandvoort the growing competitiveness of the RA272 was again on display, Richie qualified the car 3rd and finished 6th, the race won by Jim Clark’s Lotus 33 Climax.

The BRM’s finished 2nd and 4th, Stewart in front of Hill, both in P261’s. Dan Gurney was 3rd in a Brabham BT3 Climax.

Checkout my article on the early Honda GP cars;

https://primotipo.com/2014/12/12/honda-ra271272-1-5-litre-v12-19645-gp-cars/

Credits…

Rainer Schlegelmilch

Tailpiece: Richie Ginther’s Honda RA272 during the Dutch GP , 18 July 1965, Rainer has captured such an unusual view of the North Sea circuit…

image

(Schlegelmilch)

 

 

fferrari pit 1966 monaco

(Jesse Alexander Archive)

John Surtees ‘P3’ at this point but his Ferrari gearbox failed in the race won by Stewart’s BRM P261…

surtees and stewart monaco 1966

(David Phipps)

Surtees in his big Ferrari 312, a new F1 car built to the 3 litre formula introduced that year leads Jackie Stewart in his light, nimble BRM P261, a 1.5 litre F1 car bored to around 2.1 litres and shortly to be victorious over ‘Big Johns’ heavy and not so powerful Ferrari.

It may have been different if he had driven the light, nimble Ferrari Dino 246 allocated to teammate Bandini, but that was not to be and so the pressures mounted which lead to Surtees departure from the Scuderia shortly thereafter. And with it any chance Ferrari had of winning the title that year. Brabhams year of course.

https://primotipo.com/2014/11/13/winning-the-1966-world-f1-championships-rodways-repco-recollections-episode-3/

Photo Credits…

Jesse Alexander Archive, David Phipps, GP Library

Tailpiece…

stewy

Nice Stewart BRM P261 cockpit shot en-route to victory (GP Library)

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Jackie Stewart’s BRM P261 is pushed onto the Longford grid by Jimmy Collins and Stan Collier on 5 March 1966…

The race is the ‘Launceston Examiner Trophy’, the preliminary Longford Tasman round race, Jackie is being moved onto ‘pole’.

Jackie won the main race, the ‘South Pacific Trophy’ on the Monday from his teammate Graham Hill and Jack’s Brabham BT19 Repco- the new Repco ‘620 Series’ V8, 2.5 litres in Tasman spec having its third race and gearing up for his successful world championship assault that year.

For the BRM boys it would be a more character building F1 year, mind you, Jackie took a great Monaco GP win in his nimble 2.1 litre P261 against the new 3 litre GP cars.

Stewart glides his BRM into Mountford Corner. Note the crossflow ‘inlet between the Vee’ spec of this P60 engine- the more ‘typical’ engine had the exhausts within the Vee(oldracephotos.com.au/DKeep)

In terms of the 1966 Tasman Series it was a BRM rout, the 1930cc P60 versions of the 1.5 litre P56 V8 engined cars won seven of the eight rounds- JYS took four and the title (Wigram, Teretonga, Sandown, Longford) Graham Hill two (NZ GP Pukekohe, AGP Lakeside) and Richard Attwood one (Levin). Jim Clark won the other round, the ‘Warwick Farm 100’ in his Climax engined Lotus 39.

The days of a Coventry Climax FPF winning the Tasman were over- from 1966 to 1970 the 2.5 Tasman Series was dominated by ‘multi-cylinder’ V6 and V8 engines of F1 and F2 extraction.

Lindsay Ross of oldracephotos captured the feeling at the time, ‘After his win at Longford in 1966, a lot of Tasmanians were now aware of Jackie Stewart and i, along with no doubt many other enthusiasts,began following his career.’

‘The podium shot has him shaking hands with Tasmanian Premier ‘Electric’ Eric Reece- he was the driving force behind Hydro-Electric power in the state. He also made sure the Longford roads were laid with the finest hot mix bitumen available. Ron MacKinnon of the Longford Motor Racing Association has the microphones- he owned much of the land around the Longford track.’

Jim Clark, Lotus 39 Climax in front of his fellow Scot at The Viaduct in 1966 (oldracephotos.com.au/DKeep)

Credits…

Spencer Lambert, Ray Bell, Tasmanian Motorist Magazine, Lindsay Ross, oldracephotos.com.au-David Keep

Tailpiece: Stewart, BRM, The Viaduct…

Stewart wheels his BRM into the left-hander under the famous Longford Railway Viaduct, a tricky, fast on approach, downhill corner with minimal run-off area should the pilot goof. Note the spectators on the hill and alongside the railway line at the top.

Finito…